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Driving While Stoned Puts Pot Limits On Driving In Perspective

DENVER (CBS4)- A bill setting a legal limit for driving while stoned is moving forward in the state Legislature. The measure is on its way to the next House committee after passing its first legal hurdle at the state Capitol Tuesday night.

The bill states that drivers would be considered impaired if a test shows they have five nano grams or more of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is the active ingredient in pot.

The state of Washington recently legalized the use of recreational marijuana, similar to Colorado's passage of Amendment 64 except Washington has already set the intoxication at five nano grams of THC per milliliter of whole blood.

CBS affiliate KIRO conducted a test under controlled conditions with three volunteers who smoked marijuana.

"Definitely buzzed, relaxed and buzzed. I still feel normal," said Jeff, one of the volunteers after he smoked .3 of a gram and was four times the legal limit.

Driving while stoned (credit: CBS)

He drove very cautiously. Then he smoked more.

"I don't know if I can get much more stoned even if I keep smoking it," said Jeff.

Then he drove far too slowly.

With .3 of a gram Dylan was five times the legal limit and drove off the course.

"Oh, what is this cone in the middle," said Dylan while on the driving course.

At one point the driving instructor had to grab the wheel.

One bar owner has opened a marijuana club where he said he can keep an eye on his patrons.

"We can tell when a guy is getting stoned by his reaction. We'll keep him here to get something to eat, get him down," said Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill owner Frank Schnarrs.

Different people are apparently affected in different ways by differing amounts and strengths of marijuana. That is one reason opponents to the bill that passed the Colorado House Judiciary Committee are so outspoken.

The law proposed in Colorado is different that the one passed in Washington in that you will be allowed to argue in court that you were not impaired even if you measured above the legal limit.

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